Halo‘s impact on console first person shooters is undeniable. From its now-standardised controller layout to spearheading competitive online play with Halo 2 and Xbox Live, Master Chief is one of the few true kings of the genre. In recent years however, Halo has received fan backlash for buggy launches, uninteresting storylines, and risky design choices that took players away from its tight core mechanics.
Halo: Infinite promises a return to classic Halo – something that wasn’t overly apparent in the gameplay reveal we saw last year. Although we got a fantastic meme in ‘Craig the Brute’, developer 343 Industries showed off a months’ old gameplay demo that should have stayed behind closed doors. With a provisional release window of Q4 2021, there’s hope for this open-world conclusion to the Reclaimer Saga.
Here are ten essential features we need to see in Halo: Infinite. This list details what we want based on previous titles and what we expect from the franchise as it tries to compete with its FPS rivals.
10: Master Chief at the helm
Firstly, the main issue with Halo 5: Guardians was Master Chief sharing the spotlight with fellow Spartan Locke and Team Osiris. No one asked for it. Halo 4 set Master Chief up for an epic story mixed in with Forerunner lore. Whilst Halo 2 did a great job of balancing out Chief and the Arbiter; it also has the content to back it up. Halo 5 was a much shorter campaign.
9: Cortana’s Conclusion
Fans need a lot of questions answering with Halo: Infinite. The current plot points we’ve picked up on so far focus on ‘The Fallen’, a rebel band of Brutes who made their debut in Halo Wars 2. Cortana controls all A.I., Forerunner guardians and the domain; she is currently the ultimate power in Halo. Even the UNSC is careful about making any form of electronic communication to stay below her radar. The Fallen will prove a tremendous antagonistic force in the short term but Master Chief needs to settle the score with Cortana.
8: Player Guidance
Today’s significant pitfall for open-world games is providing an excellent introduction followed by next to no guidance during gameplay. Whilst this works for Bethesda and the Fallout/Elder Scrolls series, they grant players a lot of freedom during gameplay. The last thing we want to see is players trying to overcome the map areas they can’t complete. It’s easily fixed with a pre-planned mission tree alongside expanding locations dependent on player progression.
7: Deeper Halo Lore
Halo is a glorious font of lore that expands into novels, comics and short films. Halo: Infinite takes place on Zeta Halo, also known as Installation 7. This Halo ring is smaller in diameter than the now-defunct Halo array and is currently controlled by The Banished. Zeta Halo is significant for holding data for all sentient life in the galaxy; used to repopulate after the Halo array dealt with The Flood.
6: Keeping Run and Aim mechanics
Many fans wish that 343 didn’t conform to the current first-person mechanics that Call of Duty made standard. The problem is, the studio need to think about accessibility for new players and what is best for the franchise’s health moving forward. Whilst they haven’t made the strongest choices in the past, introducing running and aiming is a natural progression for the series. We are talking about genetically engineered spartan soldiers. If anything, not including these mechanics would be immersion breaking?
5: Content Drops
343 have gone on record to state that Halo: Infinite will be a live game, with content updates for the foreseeable feature. Bungie takes the same approach with Destiny, making sure players have in-game events and tasks daily or monthly. It’s funny how things work out. We’re likely to see a variety of game modes, maps, legacy skins, and loadout options populate Halo: Infinite over time though it would be great to see its singleplayer fleshed out in tandem, perhaps adding new regions to its open world?
4: A Full Presentation Overhaul
The Halo: Infinite gameplay reveal raised concerns about low-quality textures, character models and overall graphical performance. The demo didn’t properly feature dynamic lighting or shading and was hardly a showcase for Microsoft’s Xbox Series X hardware. However, we have faith that the final game will deliver – after all it’s the only major flagship Xbox title coming down the pipeline.
3: Gameplay Powered by Current-Gen Hardware
Fans are worried that we won’t get a current-gen experience in Halo: Infinite, with 343 reportedly having problems keeping staff and contractors for the full development cycle. Infinite is supposed to run on vanilla Xbox One hardware, which may hold back the Series X|S experience we are currently craving. Significant draw distances, multiple lighting and shadow effects, high-quality textures and multiple actions happening at once running at a smooth 60 FPS needs to be standard. It’s more than possible on Xbox’s current system.
2: Make Multiplayer Matter
The Halo series has played host to some truly unforgettable, pulse-pounding singleplayer campaigns. However, its most hardcore fans will tell you that multiplayer has always been the true heart of Halo. While it’s exciting to see some of the changes being made with a more open world focus and better meshing of gunplay and traversal, it’s hard to see Halo diehard pull the trigger on Infinite unless it come packing some serious multiplayer heat. Microsoft have confirmed that the game’s multiplayer will be free-to-play – no doubt hoping every console in the current Xbox ecosystem will end up with Halo: Infinite on the dashboard.
1: The Spirit of Combat Evolved
Halo has seen better days since 343 Industries took the baton from Bungie, we can all agree on that to some extent. We need that feeling of exploration, amazement and jaw-dropping narrative the original trilogy delivered. Snappy gunplay is also crucial; Chief needs to be switching multiple weapons, dual-wielding and charging into antagonists on the fly. Halo is ultimately an action series that empowers players to take down numerous threats and to have some fun along the way. It looks like 343 are backing this train of thought up with Chief’s new grappling hook.
We think this article collates everything 343 Industries need to focus on during development. While we have started to receive updates on Halo: Infinite, we are still in the dark about the finished product. The Xbox studio has had a decade to find their feet with the franchise; now it’s time to deliver a product that will keep fans entertained for the foreseeable future.